If you’re in Los Angeles, San Francisco or watch the drag world at all, you can’t avoid the name LaMoni Stat. She goes by Moni, Monistat, Her Shadyship and any of course some choice words from her social media views. We asked her to talk with us a while back and we finally broke her down. LaMoni Stat hangs out with celebrities, goes to red carpet events and even attended the Oscars this year.
Moni hails from San Francisco, California but moved down to West Hollywood, California the end of last summer and has hit the ground running. She does consider herself a true San Francisco queen, we asked her about how she started and she gave us a bit of a history lesson. “There are only a handful of us left that started in that era of drag. I got my start doing a fundraiser for the Imperial Court over eleven years ago. But really I was cross dressing for ever, you know I do love a good outfit, I love me some shoes, I love me some makeup and I love me some wigs. I’ve always been that kind of dragoon, who just loves to dress up.” The earliest recollections she had of dressing up in women’s clothes was, “when I was a kid I would run into her [mother’s] closet and wear all of her really good clothes, she had a lot of Chanel and Dior. I really played around with that. In fact she gave me one of her old Halston dresses when I was old enough to wear it… I wore it everywhere.”
She’s a self proclaimed “proud queer spawn,” who believes that, “especially now, more than ever, with this Dolce and Gabana thing, the importance of being queer and being a queer who can properly raise children that amounts to something really great.” She added, “if queers can have children and raise them right and properly, sometimes a little coo coo, like myself, that’s through no real fault of my parents except mine, positive things can come out.” She knows many people who are raising children and said “who cares if you’re gay, that has nothing to do with your ability to raise a child. If you can support a child and love a child and see the child grow to their fullest potential then you’ve done a good job as a parent and it doesn’t matter what gender, how rich or how poor… well maybe poor, because if you can’t pay for things, but you know.”
She said she’s never really had an issue with being gay or having lesbian parents externally, but she did admit there was an internal struggle. Her parents, a lesbian couple who met in middle school, are still together more than 30 years later. She said it’s beyond her she’s not ready to settle down at this time. She’s dating and doing things to people that feel good. She’d “love to be with somebody, but not now. I’d love to be that one person who will find that one person… until then…. if nothing else, I get a free meal at a fancy restaurant.”
LaMoni Stat has a master’s degree in fashion design from the Academy of Art Institute in San Francisco, however, while she can sew, she prefers not to. She said in San Francisco it was the best queens who were getting their gowns and hair done for them. She credits Putanesca (Jose A Guzman Colon) Becky Motorlodge, Juanita Moore, Mister David and more for molding what she says, “LaMoni Stat is now.” She describes her drag as “club scene, I’m from the era of San Francisco where a lot of the shows were in bars. I do credit Cookie Dough, because if it wasn’t for Cookie Dough I begged Cookie Dough to book me for the Monster Show” she was dealing with a lot of the Imperial Court politics at the time and looking to break out. The beauty of Cookie, she was the nicest queen ever.”
From The Monster Show, LaMoni Stat moved off to then Trannyshack’s Star Search. She placed first runner up but Heklina, who ran Trannyshack, asked Moni to perform every Tuesday. For those who aren’t familiar with Trannyshack, which is now called Mother, the shows are filled with props and over the top performances. She said the weekly show added a lot of pressure to come up with a new concept every week to keep the audience entertained. We asked her about what the experience gave her in the long run. She said, “I was blessed enough to be trained by so many great queens that I could pretty much do whatever the fuck I wanted and learn how to do it right. Heklina kinda took me under her wings for so long and kinda taught me the ropes of how to emcee… I’m emceed at Trannyshack on my 22nd birthday.”
“I learned from the best of the best of the best. Juanita was teaching me about fashion, Puta was teaching me to have an eye for things and Heklina was teaching me how to be flawless on the mic. At such a young age I was hosting gay pride on the main stage. I had all the great queens teaching me everything. It’s crazy! I really didn’t think about it until recently, everything that has happened to me and where I came from and who I am now, but it did help.” We asked her how she got this treatment from these masters of their craft? She said profoundly, “I don’t know!” But she did say she spent time to help the queens with their events and projects. She said, “I was around so much and they were willing to teach me because I was willing to learn.” She credits her ambition and thinks perhaps they saw that in her. But she is very grateful for all the opportunities that helped paid for college. She handed out flyers, she stayed up late and woke up early, went through all she had to do to gain exposure, work and eventually get the respect she has today.
LaMoni Stat talked about the crazy numbers she’s done in the past. She went through memories of lip syncing whole Japanese songs, covering the stage with blood, set things on fire, throwing glass at the audience, cracking eggs with her “pussy” and knives on stage. But her most memorable numbers for her are those that evoke emotion. “For me an entertaining queen is somebody who can hold their own on stage and be able to captivate your audience… Someone who can sell me a song.” She said, “it’s different now because stages are getting bigger and bigger and bigger… there’s no video, there’s no fancy sound, it was bare boned drag.”
When we changed gears to RuPaul’s Drag Race and specifically her friends, we tried to force her to pick her favorite of this and every season. However, the only thing we could get was, “I’ve known and been friends with Honey Mahogany forever and next was Ongina, but I can’t pick my favorite because they’re all my friends.” But she did go on about her admiration of Ongina coming out and being a positive voice for HIV and coming out on television the way she did. “She has a great sense of self and she’s never wavered.” As far as other queens, she said this specifically of Delta Work, “I don’t like Delta Work, I think she’s trash…. and I want her dead! Actually no, Delta and I are really close, we talk a lot.” She spoke of the amazing performance skills of Mystique Summers and the club scene era queen Vivacious.
She admits, “Monistat is very icy and distant… and that’s what I want to portray.” She said she knows she has a wall up. She said it’s awkward to be thought of as a star and for people to get star struck over her. “I’ve never really thought of myself as anything other than another turd in the bowl… it’s awkward when people… just want to take pictures with me. I’m still getting used to that thing. I’ve never really come to terms with it.”
LaMoni Stat is the oldest young queen you’ll meet. She’s been working in the industry for over a decade, with queens who have been in the game for decades and decades. She knows her drag herstory, she’s a part of drag herstory and she will probably write a few more chapters before she’s done. Her advice for the young queens, “keep going on, you’re always gonna have haters, yo’re never gonna do anything right. The sooner you realize that the sooner you’ll get on with your life and create something.” She continued, “even if you win, you’re never gonna please everybody. Really at the end of the day you’re just an artist creating. The worst thing you can be is don’t ever be mediocre. Be entertaining, entertain me.”
Follow LaMoni Stat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find out where she’ll be. She has the tendency of showing up at clubs and stepping up on stage without warning, so keep a close eye on this talented queen. Stay tuned as we spill some more on LaMoni and her drag mother Margaret Cho.